Title- By the Hand of the Clock
Cassandra has a vision a little more complete...

A/N- Been rewatching all of SV in order to introduce a friend to it. Cassandra's vision in the Season 1 episode 'Hourglass' really got me thinking... especially seeing as how the emotions stirred up by that vision were essentially what guided Clark's actions for the next seven seasons or so. It kind of bugs me, watching it now, because in shooting that scene the producers obviously paid no attention to the actual future, which is ridiculous, because they were writing what was initially meant to be the prologue to an extremely well-established story. Would it have killed them to at least include a "Perry White" headstone, at the absolute minimum?

Cassandra Carver is an enigma. She is aged but not old, wise but not in the least sedate. She plays this to her advantage. He knows this, and she's straightforward with him. At least, most of the time. He suspects that having the future running through ones head all the time would make a person inclined to spin a few riddles for everyone else.

People are afraid of the unknown, she tells him. They only want to know if everything is going to turn out alright.

She gives him no guarantees and with one outstretched, arthritis-warped hand, dares him to take a leap of faith. Whether faith in her or faith in the future, he's really not sure, and he doesn't know if it would matter either way. He's got a blank void in his life and no one- at least, no one on this planet- can fill it up for him. If Cassandra has answers, any clue at all, he'll take it.

And so he takes her hand.


He is standing all alone in the pouring rain. He is in a graveyard. Hundreds of tombstones surround him, monuments to loved ones long since turned to dust, but only one of them interests him.

The name on the stone is Jonathan Kent.

He wants to scream, but it feels as though his lungs are constricting.

He looks another way, and there is his mother's name right beside her husbands. He glances the other way and sees, to his horror, that the next stone over bears Chloe's name. He turns away and if it were possible he would slam his eyes shut to keep from seeing any more names, but it seems he has no control over his lids.

There are names he recognizes. Not people intimately connected with him, but he knows some of the names. Sara VanderBleek, the captain of the Smallville High volleyball team, old Mack Carpenter who never seems to leave his perch next to the counter at the feed store, and others. People he knows. People he doesn't.

His eyes return to Chloe's grave. The date on the stone seems much too soon.

And then comes the hand on his shoulder. He turns, and standing at his side seemingly from nowhere is a man about his height, with pensive eyes and an athletic build. "I knew I'd find you here," he says.

Clark has never seen this man before in his life, but feels his mouth shape a response quite outside his control anyway. "I still can't believe it," he says.

"I know."

"Maybe I'm being pathetic. Losing Chloe has been hard on everyone, especially Lois... but I'm the one who keeps coming out here."

The other man gives very little away with his expression, and he holds himself very still. Not rigid, just very calm, as he replies: "She was your oldest friend. It's part of the grieving process."

He feels his lips twist up into an ironic smile. "Always such a comfort, Bruce."

His companion snorts softly. "Come on. We both have things to be doing."

"I thought I might stay a little longer," he says, hesitating.

Bruce shakes his head. "She's waiting," he says, as if this simple statement has some implication greater than what Clark can grasp. He inclines his head in the direction of the cemetery gates.

A car waits there, a little burgundy four-door that he doesn't recognize. Next to it, just beyond the gate, stands a woman. She is tall with ample curves in all the right places, and the pencil skirt she's wearing shows off her mile-long legs. She's carrying an umbrella in defense against the rain that casts her face into shadow, and Clark can't quite see who she is, but a smile tugs at his lips anyway. He can tell that she has curly dark hair.

He casts a last glance at Chloe's grave, and even with the woman waiting for him at the gates, he can't help but feel his heart drop at the sight of her name, nestled between a pair of dates set in stone.


He returns to the present with a twitch and a gasp, feeling as though he hasn't drawn breath in years.

"Chloe!" is his first choked-out exclamation as he yanks his hand from Cassandra's.

"You saw that, too?" she asks. She is distressed, and he's not sure why.

"Wasn't I supposed to?"

She shrugs, the fingers on her right hand twisting nervously while she informs him that no one else has ever experienced her visions with her. He's not really surprised. Yet another aspect of his non-terrestrial origins making itself known.

He asks who the other woman is, the one he didn't quite get to see clearly.

Cassandra just smiles that maddening smile of hers and informs him that he knows what she knows.

Before he leaves, however, he does manage to extract a promise that if she sees anything more she'll tell him about it. In exchange, he has to promise to visit tomorrow, but he figures that's a fair trade for a little slice of the future.